When Pia and Dino arrived the other day I put in an order for one of my favourite recipes and last night I got to eat it.
Italians don't travel light. Pia had brought with her fresh made pasta and a bunch of other goodies for my mum.
I'd requested an enriched tomato sauce (ragu, made with beef, pork and lamb cooked slowly in a tomato sauce) to eat with orecchiette (ear shaped pasta) and very, very good it was too. (Note: Prior to combing the tomato sauce with the pasta you remove the meat and eat it as a separate course after the pasta.)
Jan and I have been watching the series Two Greedy Italians and last night they were in Puglia which is where my mum and Pia come from, and where Pia and Dino live at the moment.
An area I have visited many times over the last fifty years, where my grandparents lived and where I developed my love of Italian food. About half way through the programme they visited Orsaro di Puglia, a sleepy mountain village in the hills above the Foggia plain, which is Dino's home town. They couldn't believe it.
Having met Jan fairly late in life, she has very fond memories of her first visits to family life in Italy, family meals in Orsara and including one wonderful evening when we listen to a band play Cavalleria Rusticana in the open air, in the square in front of the church and delighted in watching all the old folks follow along to the music.
Needless to say they were delighted and fascinated that a travel/food programme was airing in England about people and places that they know intimately. It was delightful to hear them recognise individuals and even Jan and I had eaten at one of the restaurants that was featured.
A fabulous trip down memory lane. And, because I don't have any of last night's recipes to hand (I'll post it tomorrow), here's one that I know you will enjoy.